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Smarta Marketing Ideas for Smarta Marketers

Category: marketing ideas

Loyalty/Relationship Segments.

Dr. Brian Monger

Relationship segmentation is based on customers’ perceptions of their relationships with an organisation and their behaviour within that relationship.

 

Premium/Hard core loyalty – These are consumers with undivided loyalty to one brand

Soft core loyalty – Buyers with divided loyalty between two or more brands.

Latent loyalty – A high attachment towards the product combined with low repeat purchases. Perhaps the lack of (current) availability or a partners preferences, restrict the amount that is purchased

Passive or Inertia loyalty – a low attachment to the product and high repeat purchases. Is the customer staying with the organisation by choice or exhibiting passive loyalty? Passive or Inertia loyalty can be caused by:

  • Limited choice: Where there is only a single choice of retailer. Or forced choice situations like blades for your safety razor.
  • Habitual buying: When you buy your lunch from the café in or near to your college, you do so because it is convenient – not because you are loyal. A similar case is travelling by the same train every day.
  • Risk minimisation: This is typical of products which you buy on the advice of some one else’ advice like medicines, or you continue using a brand because you are concerned about changing.
  • Switching hassles: You would like to switch brands but you feel the cost of switching over is way too high and feel that the benefits are not yet big enough.
  • Lack of a decent alternative: When you use Australia Post, are you doing so out of habit?

No loyalty/ Shifting loyalty/Switchers – These buyers demonstrate no brand loyalty at all and will switch without any concerns.   The various loyalty segments emphasise the point that customer relationship segments and levels are not equal.

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

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Is Marketing the Same as Selling? Are Marketing and Sales Different?

Dr. Brian Monger

Is Marketing the Same as Selling?

Only is a broad, somewhat simplistic concept, where “selling” is thought of as the exchange activity. Marketing is an overall Organisational activity (the planning, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising and selling of any Value Offer (Product. Selling is therefore only a part of the overall Marketing of any Product and therein lies the difference.

Are Marketing and Sales Different?

This is a perenial topic in forums and will get lots of responses – particularly I have found from sales folk.  Their basic message is that Sales and Marketing are different.  Marketers don’t understand Selling.  Sales people are important and underappreciated.

The basic problem with the topic and discussion is that very few participants understand or use the terms correctly.  They only think of “sales” and “marketing” as organisational departments, not as functions.

 

It is difficult to have a useful discussion if the key terms are not understood and agreed

So here are a few useful definitions to help (I hope) the discussions

Marketing

The process of exchange of value between Provider (Seller) and Customer (Buyer).  Involves creating and providing what customers want in return for something they are willing to give (money, time, or membership)

The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix (see Marketing Mix Strategy) of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products (Sale, Hire, Acquisition) for some form of Payment. The process of planning and executing the conception, Product Pricing, Promotion and Place (Distribution) of offers (ideas, goods and services) to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational objectives.

(1) The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements while achieving organisational objectives (including profitably).

(2) Fundamental policy-forming activity devoted to selecting and developing suitable products for sale – promoting and distributing these products in a manner providing the optimum return on capital employed. (Teach Yourself Marketing, John Stapleton, 1975.)

(3) Marketing starts in the market place with the identification of the customers’ needs and wants. It then moves on to determining a means of satisfying these needs and of promoting, selling and supplying a satisfaction. The principal marketing functions might be defined as Marketing Information and Research, Product Planning, Advertising and Promotion, and Distribution.

Marketing is generally thought of as one of the three or four basic activities of all organisations.  Thus – Marketing; Finance and Operations (or Production and HR)

Marketing Department

A division within a company with responsibility for the planning and coordination of all marketing activities

Marketing department marketing/Marketing department orientation
A term used to refer to the orientation of an organisation which has established a separate department to look after its marketing activities, but which is not totally imbued with the marketing philosophy. An orientation in which all marketing activities are brought under the control of one department to improve short-run policy planning and to try to integrate the firm’s activities.

Sale

A sale relates to someone or some organisation buying something. Sales are often confused with the process of Selling. Result – or pinnacle activity involved in selling products (goods and services) in return for payment (money or some other compensation of value to the seller).

The amount of Products (both goods and services) sold in a given period of time. Sales are operating revenues earned by a company when it sells its products.

Sales

The amount of Products(all forms) sold in a given period of time

The simplistic term to mean the “Sales Department.  This is OK except where it confuses the overall activity of the organisation in the Marketing function

Sales department

Sales department is the division of a business or an organization accountable for selling services or products. The department responsible for planning, organising, controlling and evaluating the activities of the sales force.

Selling

Process of persuasion leading to an exchange or trading arrangement.

Personal Selling

One of the possible activities of the Promotional Mix\

The process of making oral commercial representations during a buyer/seller interview situation. Direct, face-to-face communication between buyer and seller. Personal selling is a basic activity and is old as marketing itself . Colloquially referred to as face-to-face selling. Sometimes known as buyer/seller interface.

 

Dr Brian Monger is Executive Director of MAANZ International and an internationally known business consultant with over 45 years of experience assisting both large and small companies with their projects.  He is also a highly effective and experienced trainer and educator

Did you find this article useful?  Please let us know

These articles are usually taken from notes from a MAANZ course.  If you are interested in obtaining the full set of notes (and a PowerPoint presentation) please contact us – info@marketing.org.au

Also check out other articles on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

MAANZ International website http://www.marketing.org.au

Smartamarketing Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question

The Great Social Tweet

By Brian Swinden
To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the ‘Net to send out
The slings and arrows for outrageous fortune,
Or to make posts of cats against a sheet of bubbles
And by clawing pop them: to ‘Like’, to tweet
No more; and by a tweet, to say we brave
A heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a communication
Devoutly to be wished. To ‘Like’, to tweet,
To tweet, perchance to stream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that tweet of mirth, what trials may come,
When we have shuffled off this wi-fi band,
Should give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of paltry life:
For who would share the whips and scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a YouTube vid? Who would followers bear,
To drink and whine of thumb-typed weary posts,
But that the dread of something after login,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather share those ills we have,
And fly to others that we know not of.
Thus dissociation does make experts of us all,
And thus the native hue of communication
Is sicklied o’er, with the vivid lack of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,
With this regard their intentions turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Tweeter? Not in your mobile be
All my sins remembered.

 

 

Brian Swinden is the Owner of Brian Swinden Productions Winnipeg, Canada

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing ideas from the dark side

Marketing ideas from the dark side.  How to spot them

“Marketing and marketers” can often take criticism from outsiders who see the methods we use as “evil”. Often both the “good guys” and the “bad guys” use the same methods to succeed.  If you aim to be a good guy marketer you should know the tricks used by the bad guys – and learn to be wary when you use them – if you seek credibility

Here are some ideas used for selling junk products – ideas, services etc

Tie your appeal to the customer’s fears and their hope of something better.

Tie your appeal to popular culture, fashion, tends.

Have a well known/respected personality support your product. Otherwise someone who looks credible and preferably looks good

Have multiple options to sell.

Use social proof rather than scientific proof.

Cite non-existent authorities and spurious research.

Have statistics to quote. Preferably in graphical form

Use actual statistics selectively

Argue from a position of perceived credibility or authority rather than fact.

Use emotion and spread it as thickly as possible.

Treat any questioning of your position as an attack on wider (social) issues

Treat real science as junk science.

Trot out success stories/testimonials

Use gullible reporters to get your message out.

 

Any additions? Comments? Examples?

 

Like these ideas?  Please comment

And visit our other blogs/articles http://smartamarkeketing.wordpress

And the MAANZ website (home of the worlds largest marketing/business glossary http://www.marketing.org.au

Also the MAANZ Slideshare site – http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger

Why Strategic Planning (by itself) Does Not Work

Dr Brian Monger

Most managers labour under a myriad of short-term pressures. Daily schedules are full to the bursting point; crises of various magnitudes have to be handled; customers demand action; fires must be fought. In some companies, daily (even hourly) fluctuations in stock prices are monitored closely, and action taken accordingly. Not surprisingly, as much as nine-tenths of a typical organisation’s energy is devoted to managing day-to-day operations. As more than one manager has ruefully observed, “If the organisation don’t get through this month, a six month plan isn’t going to be useful”. Because of their natural tendency to focus on the short term, managers must often be forced to pay attention to the long run if it is not to be lost in the shuffle.

Strategic planning can be a shallow exercise. It is all too usual for a slick report with beautiful graphics to be produced, filed, and forgotten. This phenomenon seems to be especially common when the plan was drawn up by the strategic planning department or (even worse) when an outside consulting group has done most of the work. There are important roles for consultants and staff planning specialists in the strategic planning process. Their specialised skills can be extremely useful in structuring the process and obtaining and analysing critical data. They often serve as highly effective catalysts, in effect, forcing the organisation to expand its horizons beyond the day-to-day. But it is bad policy to have such specialists take the lead in developing the strategy or writing the plan. While many managers would be delighted to have them do so an organisation that succumbs to this temptation would almost certainly be better off without a plan.

Unless the managers who are to be responsible for implementing the plan have been deeply involved in its preparation, it is highly unlikely that the plan will have significant impact. Successful implementation of strategy requires shared understanding of the information driving the firm’s business, as well as consensus concerning the organisation’s mission, goals, key programs, and resource allocations.

Even when managers are involved in the planning process, however, the resulting plans and tactics may be inconsistent with the organisation’s measurement processes and/or incentive structures. In the newspaper industry, for example, it is common for strategic plans to call for increases in circulation and readership, but for bonuses to be paid almost solely on the basis of annual profits. Since increasing circulation generally requires marketing investment that is unlikely to pay off until subsequent years, it is not surprising that many newspaper publishers put far less emphasis on building circulation than is called for in their strategic plans.

Managers must be able and willing to carry out the actions called for in their strategic plan, or it simply will not happen. If they feel threatened by the planning process (e.g., if it requires that their organisational unit be compared with “best of breed” or if it seems likely to lead to a loss of resources), they are likely to deliberately impede it. For the strategic planning process to be effective, managers at all levels must “buy into” the plan. Operational managers (salespeople, brand managers, market research managers), middle managers (group brand managers, sales managers, advertising directors), and top managers (the senior managers responsible for marketing, R&D, and manufacturing,  and even the chief operating officer and chief executive officer or managing director) must all understand the planning process fully, feel they have had a real opportunity to contribute to the plan, and agree, at least in broad outline, with its conclusions.

Another major impediment to effective strategic planning is the lack of sufficient data. In these circumstances, it is necessary to decide whether to use those data that are available, and supplement them with managerial judgment, or to operate without strategic direction. The organisation feel it is better to identify critical information and success factors, obtain the best information available, and formulate at least a draft strategic plan. One outcome of this process is likely to be a clearer recognition of what additional data are required and, hopefully, a plan to acquire such data. Clearly, timely monitoring, control, and revision are especially important when implementing a strategy developed with less than adequate data.

Like these ideas?  Please comment

And visit our other blogs/articles http://smartamarkeketing.wordpress

And the MAANZ website (home of the worlds largest marketing/business glossary http://www.marketing.org.au

Also the MAANZ Slideshare site – http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger

The Benefits of Socially Responsible Branding

Adding Cause to Branding

The benefits of being perceived to be socially responsible are varied and many. Understandably brands want to be perceived as socially responsible. Being associated with a good cause is a quick way for a brand to be gain the tag of being seen as ‘socially responsible’. This shows the brand to be responsible and caring and these are indeed good qualities for a brand to have. While some brands are inspired by a genuine sense of social responsibility many brands look at the image of being socially responsible as helping in building brand stature. The conscious employment of resources by a brand to aid charitable causes in order to develop image, associations and identity benefits is called cause related branding.

There are 5 main reasons why brands associate with charitable causes other than from a socially responsible perspective:

Builds brand preference: Marketing sense states and some research studies confirm, that ceteris paribus, consumers would prefer buying a brand that is associated with a good cause than from other brands.

Justifies a premium: Consumers often do not mind paying a premium for a brand that is known to be generous to a well-known charity as consumers feel that the brand deserves the premium. The knowledge that a part of the money paid to a brand is going to a good cause adds to the positive emotional component of the brand.

Reduces negative connotations associated with the brand: Liquor and tobacco brands often associate themselves with causes as a means of negating a part of the disrepute associated with their industry.

Provides the brand with desirable values: Brands that are seen to possess a very commercial and greedy image may wish to develop a softer image by showing a softer nicer side by donating to charitable organizations.

Useful for raising money: Brands that plan to approach the money market for raising money from the public often show the warm side of their personality by publicly supporting charitable causes. Investors who are not doing extensive research on the brand may invest because they believe a brand with good intentions can be trusted.

As is obvious from the advantages mentioned above, cause related branding has a lot to offer brands and therefore this route is being used by many brands. There are several successful examples cause related branding working wonders for brands it must be understood that a poorly developed cause strategy will lead to no little or no benefits for the brand. The days when a brand could merely tie up with a well-known charity and earn brownie points are over and the intricacies involved in making cause related branding work are worthy of careful consideration.

In branding, adopting a strategic perspective is critical. In cause related branding it becomes even more critical as the process of establishing an association with a cause takes significant investment of time, effort and money. Reaping the benefits of the association takes time and delinking from a cause can have strong negative repercussions for a brand and the involvement of the highest echelons of management need to be involved in decisions involving cause related branding.

There are three levels of decisions that brands need to look at and the implications of each category of decisions is to be understood before planning for any kind of cause related branding:

Deciding the category: There are a wide range of categories of causes ranging from care of deprived children to restoration of dignity of seniors. Categories are wide and can encompass a wide range of sub categories. Within the cause category of care for senior citizens there are sub categories addressing issues such as care for abandoned elders, medical treatment of senior citizens, etc. It is important to choose the right kind of category and sub category as a prelude to deciding a relevant issue to back within this category.

Deciding the specific issue: Categories of causes consist of different issues. Issues are specific such as programmes to aid restoration of dignity of senior citizens that feel deprived of dignity following their old age. Focussing on specific issues is important for brands as it helps fine tune the values that flow from the association.

Deciding the specific institutions: Unless the brand is willing to create a trust that handles the responsibilities of the cause it will have to depend on institutions to run the operational aspects involved in the execution of cause related activities. Aligning with an institution that caters to a specific cause can provide a brand with strong associations however there are times when brands need to ensure that they are not overshadowed by charities that are stronger brands than their sponsors.

These are some of the aspects that need to be studied before a brand decides to associate with a charitable cause.

What is the relevance of the cause to the brand’s consumer segment?: Association with a charitable cause does not immediately mean that consumers will immediately hold the brand in high esteem. Consumers must find the cause relevant to their value system before the brand receives any approbation. For example: Not all consumers may be equally supportive of a cause that looks at providing food and shelter to immigrants/refugees. These consumers may be more supportive of causes that benefit their countrymen.

How different is it?: Many people are inured to causes and even associations with a good cause like Cancer Care may neither draw much attention to the brand or to the cause nor would the association be very memorable. Finding a cause that is relevant and yet different would help in enhancing the memorability of the brand and cause. For example: A trust that looks after veteran entertainers suffering from terminal diseases can be seen as a worthy cause to support as it appreciates people who once entertained and gave others happiness.

Can the cause be owned?: It is normally difficult to own a cause as this would require immense investment of resources. A niche cause like the one mentioned in the above example may not require huge investments and may not see many other brands supporting this cause. The task of guarding the cause associations may not be very tough nor may the cost of running such a trust be very high.

Will it hold enduring relevance with this segment?: Some causes are contextual. These causes appear to touch a sensitive chord with consumers and then suddenly seem to lose their appeal. Often charities in India catering to cyclone victims suddenly find their support waning in the wake of a fresh new tragedy in a different part of the country. Public sympathy often veers towards the more current tragedies.

How will the relationship be positioned?: The nature of the brand’s relationship with the cause can influence consumer perceptions of the brand. A brand that extends it relationship beyond the financial support to also provide investments of time and talent would most likely stand to gain greater credibility from the relationship than would a brand that only provides money. Brands that appear to only offer financial support may be seen as ‘forced’ or ‘insincere’ and this could in some cases prove counterproductive.

Controversial issues: Brands need to be careful while handling causes associated with controversial issues. For example: A ‘euthanasia’ support foundation campaigning for change in legislation towards euthanasia may be seen by some as a worthy cause but association with this cause may lead to the brand supporting it being embroiled in controversy at some stage of its association if public opinion suffers from the occasional mood swing. While some brands court controversy through short term associations with controversial causes this could be risky as well as counter productive as the issue could turn ugly and taint the brand or it could grow far bigger than the brand.

Cause related branding works best when it is driven by the core values of the brand. Like anything else that is forced, cause related branding could prove counterproductive if it is not a ‘natural’ facet of the brand. When it is not ‘natural’ to the brand then the cause related activities are de-prioritised and lose focus often with corresponding effect on the brand.

In an increasingly cynical world, the value of genuinely sensitive acts is extremely high. There are several cries for brands to show greater responsibility and to share a small part of their wealth with the less privileged. The current economic strife created by schizophrenic brands that show dissonance between their different actions has led to lower levels of consumer belief in brands. Cause related branding performed with genuine intent can help restore consumer trust and build brand equity

Like this short article?  Please comment.  And have a look at other articles  in our sister blog http://smartamarketing.wordpress and checkout the smartamarketing posts on SlideShare. (http://www.slideshare.net/bmonger)

7 Simple Rules for an Effective Marketing Program

By Emily Coleman

Marketing seems to be getting more and more complicated.  There is an ever-expanding universe of ways to try to reach out to prospects.  Segmenting the marketplace now includes categorization by means of communication on top of the traditional demographic profiles.  Marketing specialties are multiplying.

What’s an entrepreneur or small- to medium-sized business to do?  There aren’t limitless funds to hire experts, buy “big data,” do finely honed customized market research, etc.

Over the years, it has become clear to me that the best marketing – the marketing that actually contributes to sales and revenue growth – follows the KISS principle:

  1. Place your value proposition – why people should buy from you – in the context of your marketplace.

2.  Make your message clear, concise, and memorable.  If you have a slogan, make it mean something.

3.  Worry less about engagement and more about showing how your company/product/service will bring value to your prospect.  Engagement will follow.

  1. Be responsive.  And be timely with your response.

5.  Align all your outreach (blogs, tweets, posts, white papers, advertising, and content marketing in general) so that your central message is consistent and your expertise shines through.

6.  Your objective is to have your company/products/services noticed.  Don’t worry about having to follow the commonly accepted wisdom on how to do it.

7.  Never forget that the sole purpose of marketing is to increase sales, revenues, and market share.  Measure each initiative against that goal.

If you internalize and use these basic rules as your marketing guide, you can harness your resources, avoid unnecessary expenditures, and have measurable results.

 

About Emily R. Coleman

Dr. Emily R. Coleman is President of Competitive Advantage Marketing, Inc, a firm that specializes helping companies expand their marketing reach and revenue streams through strategy and implementation. Dr. Coleman has more than 30 years of hands-on executive management experience working with companies, from Fortune 100 firms to entrepreneurial enterprises. Dr. Coleman’s expertise extends from the integration of corporate-wide marketing communication and operations to the development and implementation of strategy into product development and branding. Ask how Dr. Coleman can help your company. She can be reached at 201-836-9070 or at ecoleman@colemanmgt.com

What Should you Charge Clients?

Charging What You’re Worth for Professional Consulting Services

Two of the perennial problems that many consultants face are how to set their prices, and how to convey to potential clients the value in working with them, buying your service product.

Lack of clarity as to what you are worth to clients will undermine your confidence and often lead to trying to compensate by over delivering and over promoting.

Here are some simple ideas to help you get clear on the value you deliver, and to charge fees that are in line with that.

1. Not all clients (customers) are the same.  Your value to them will be different.  That is why it is important to think like an effective marketer and segment/target.  And segmentation needs to more than Demographics/Firmagraphics.

Value is specific (and perceptual) to each market/segment and situation.  You need to create a market segment profile for each target market.  The more detail, the better your understanding.  If it is only a few words, you do not understand your market well enough.

If you are struggling to make a useful segment profile (it takes a bit of knowledge and time) – seek help.  Also check out http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com for ideas about effective segmentation.  You will find other useful and free ideas in the many ideas there as well

2.  What value do you offer? An effective exercise is to list 30 results that your clients get in working with you. Your Product is both goods (tangibles) and services (intangibles). Be sure to list the tangible as well as the non-tangible. Dig deep. If you’re new to your business, then look at the results that are typical of your particular profession or industry, and ask yourself how you can help people create that.

If you are struggling to make a 30 list (it takes time) – seek help

3  Once you have made your basic list, look at it from a client’s perspective.  What benefits are there for them?  Clients/customers buy benefits (intangible services – supported by tangibles).  Put yourself in their shoes and ask “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM).

4. Determine a Price.  Determine not what you think you are worth – but what your prospective clients are prepared to pay.  What clients think may be wrong, but that is what you need to work with.  If you think they should see you as being worth more, then you need to work out how to persuade them of that fact.  While your costs are important in determining an asking Price, Clients don’t care about your costs except where it offers them some advantage.  Adopt a good marketing approach when looking at your cost decisions.  Ask “How can this benefit my clients in such a way as I can add it to my value offer”?

Create Price Lines – that is different asking prices for different segments and offerings.

Price different offerings (Products) differently

4. Don’t stop researching, thinking and planning about your offering. Be sure to ask your clients (frequently) what they value most about working with you or your competitors.  Don’t just assume that what you think is goog is good for your clients – find out.

5. Think strategically as well as tactically.  Tactics – short term plans and action to suit the particular situation are needed, but to get ahead consistently, you need to also think strategically about your business. Look for (and create) value offerings that will differentiate you from your competitors.  If your offering is undifferentiated, it is a commodity.  Commodities only compete on price – or luck.

Thinking strategically means looking at the whole Marketing Mix (eg. 4 P’s) not just Price.  It is also about establishing an effective Brand in your market place.

6. Do your prospective clients know about you and what you can offer them?  Now that you know what you should offer to clients, it’s important that they become aware of it too. How you can let them know is another (important) topic. This is also where knowing a lot about your target segment will pay dividends.  You will know what media they use; what key ideas they want to know about – and how you can effectively communicate with them (not just to them)

Check out the other articles on the SmartaMarketing blog (http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com and https://smartamarketing2.wordpress.com); visit MAANZ International (www.marketing.org.au) and look at the short courses on offer.  Or contact me for specific advice and projects you are looking at

It is how you can build your business/consultancy

Dr. Brian Monger

info@marketing.org.au

Marketing Planning as a Continuous Process

Dr. Brian Monger

Although most books on marketing planning portray the process as a series of discrete, straightforward steps, the process is, in fact, a continuous interplay of assumptions, objectives, strategies, programs and budgets, with a constant movement backwards and forwards, from the general to the specific, and with some stages occurring concurrently rather than consecutively.”  That is, it’s not possible to start at one point and proceed step by step to the end.  As you progress, you will need to go back and forth adding and adjusting elements.

Planning is, or should be, a continuous activity of marketing management, rather than an irregular act.  Doing a plan once a year and never reviewing and adjusting it is not realistic or practical.

Planning is the principle activity of a manager.  Implementation – “doing the work” – is another job.  Management planning has real worth.  Just doing things, working hard (sweat equity) is not an effective or efficient use of resources.  Planning aims at giving better returns on invested resources.

Every organisation is the scene of continuous decision-making and problem-solving, but this should not be confused with marketing planning and control.  The latter is a separate and higher-order activity which often rewards the organisation with improved sales and profit.

Expressed in its simplest form, if the purpose of planning is to answer three central questions:

  • Where is the organisation now? (Marketing Audit)
  • Where does the organisation want to go? (Goals and Objectives and Opportunity Analyses)
  • How should the organisation organise its resources to get there? (Plan – Strategy and Tactics)

Positioning your Product in the Market

Determining the Positioning Strategy

Dr Brian Monger

Having explored the alternative positioning strategies available, the marketer must determine which strategy is best suited for the firm or product and begin developing the positioning platform.   The development of a positioning platform can be seen as a six-step process:

1.  Analysing the buyers’ preferences

The earlier discussion of segmentation in this chapter, noted various factors that may distinguish groups of buyers, including situation, benefits sought, behavioural factors and lifestyle differences.  Each of these segments may have different purchase motivations and different attribute importance ratings.  One way to determine these differences is to consider the ideal brand, defined as the value offering the consumer would prefer over all others, including value offerings that can only be imagined but do not exist.  Identifying the ideal product can help you identify different ideals among segments or identify segments with similar or the same ideal points.

2.  Assessing buyers’ perceptions of our value offering. 

The organisation needs to determine how their brand is perceived by buyers in relation to their preferences in 1. above.  Which attributes are important to buyers in evaluating this type of product?

3.  Identifying competitors. 

This process requires broad thinking.  Competitors may not be just those products and/or brands that fall into your product class or with which you compete directly.  The organisation must consider all likely competitors, as well as the various effects of use and situations on the consumer.

4.  Assessing buyers’ perceptions of competitors. 

Once the organisation has defined its competition, they must determine how they are perceived by buyers in relation to their preferences.  Which attributes are important to buyers in evaluating a product and/or brand?

5.  Determining competitors’ positions. 

After identifying the relevant attributes and their relative importance to buyers, we must determine how each competitor (including our own entry) is positioned with respect to each attribute.  This will also show how the competitors are positioned relative to each other.

Adopting a positioning strategy.

Going through the previous steps will help a firm understand which position to (try to) assume in the marketplace.

These judgements raise a number of questions:

•           Is the segmentation/targeting strategy appropriate?  Positioning is the result of a decision to segment the market.  The question here asks whether the right variables have been focused on.

•           Are there sufficient resources available to communicate the position effectively?  It is expensive to establish a brand position.  Marketer need to commit to a long-range effort in all aspects of the marketing campaign.  Further, once a successful position is attained, it is likely to attract competitors.  It may become expensive to fend off me-too brands and continue to hold on to the brand distinction.

•           How strong is the competition?  The marketer manager needs to ask whether a position sought is likely to be maintainable/defensible, given the strengths of the competition.

•           Is the current positioning strategy working?  If current efforts are not working, it may be time to consider an alternative positioning strategy (repositioning).  If they are working, a change is usually unwise.  Change may cause confusion in the marketplace and weaken a brand’s position.  Unless there is strong reason to believe a change in positioning is necessary, stick with the current strategy.

           Monitoring the positionOnce a position has been established, it needs to be monitored.  Tracking studies measure the image of the product (or firm) over time.  Changes in buyers’ perceptions can be determined, noted and reacted to.  The impact of competitors can be determined

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Also check out the article on Segmentation, Targetting and Positioning on http://smartamarketing.wordpress.com

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